Lois Bewley was once dubbed “the clown princess of dance,” and in addition to her comedic gifts she also received critical acclaim as a dancer, choreographer, designer, opera director, photographer, and multi-media artist. Born in Louisville, Kentucky in 1934, Bewley moved to New York as a teenager, studying at the School of American Ballet and later performing with the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo, American Ballet Theatre, Jerome Robbins’ Ballets U.S.A., and on Broadway. After joining New York City Ballet in 1959, Bewley and three other City Ballet dancers formed the First Chamber Dance Quartet, for which they created their own dances. In a review of the group’s 1961 New York debut, The New York Times
deemed Bewley’s ballets “the freshest and most assured of all.” She created a brilliant parody of Balanchine’s choreographic style called Pi R Squared
, which Ted Shawn referred to as “the talk of New York” before he first presented it at the Pillow in 1962. Bewley returned to the Pillow twice more with the Quartet in 1964 and 1966, also presenting a sequel to Pi R Squared
called Part II
. Her most famous work was last seen at the Pillow in 1979 when Pi R Squared
was performed by The Houston Ballet. Lois Bewley died in Manhattan on November 21, 2012 at age 78.